Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
1. Good afternoon. I am very happy to launch the Professional Deputies and Donees (or PDD) scheme today.
Community Plays an Important Role in Supporting Persons with No Family Support
2. For many of us who wish to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, it is natural to appoint our family members, people we trust such as our spouse or adult children, to be our donees, so that they can make decisions and act on our behalf should we lose mental capacity in future. In fact, our figures show that more than 95% of donees appointed in LPAs were the donor’s immediate or extended family member in 2017.
3. However, as our population demographics change and families become smaller, there is a small and increasing number of people who may not have family members or close friends to rely on to be their proxy decision-makers. These may be individuals who are single or widowed, or may not have children. The PDD scheme allows specific groups of professionals to be registered to be proxy decision makers to these vulnerable persons.
4. The concept of the PDD scheme was first introduced when the Mental Capacity Act was amended in 2016, and rolling out this scheme required a lot of careful deliberation and consultation with representatives from across the legal, medical, accounting, and social service sector. A key consideration when planning the PPD scheme was to ensure that strong safeguards are in place to protect the interests of persons without mental capacity.
5. I would like to express my appreciation to our pioneer batch of professionals present today who have passed the certification course, and some of whom have already applied to be registered professional deputies with the Office of the Public Guardian (or OPG). You may come from various different backgrounds – the legal, accounting or social worker sector, but I appreciate the common thing you share, that is the heart and willingness to serve the community and support others. Thank you for coming forward to support this scheme and the community. I hope all of you will promote this scheme to individuals whom you think fit the profile and stand to benefit from this scheme. We need to work together to raise awareness and support this demographic accordingly.
6. At this point, I would like to congratulate and thank the pioneer batch of professional deputies among us once again. We all have a part to play in ensuring that the vulnerable among our community are well supported and cared for. As the Chinese saying goes, 独木不成林，单弦不成音. Literally, a single tree does not make a forest, and a single string cannot make music. Many things require us to work together to achieve results we want. Thank you for your support and contributions to help our fellow Singaporeans.